Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and has always been one of the main gateways into the country for people and ideas since prehistoric times. The Vikings established Ireland’s first town here and by the medieval times it had become a cosmopolitan, sophisticated and prosperous city. By the 18th century it had a monopoly on the export of many important commodities including wool, hides, grain, iron, salt, wine and many luxury goods such as figs, dates and silk. By 1800 Waterford was booming and had a global trading network of 400 ports as well as having the biggest shipbuilding yard in Ireland. The Port of Waterford Company Building was originally built in 1785 for the Morris family of Rossduff to the designs of Waterford’s famous Georgian architect John Roberts. It was acquired by the Chamber of Commerce in 1815 to be used as the headquarters for the city’s busy port and was renovated to the highest standards. It’s exquisite cantilevered oval staircase is now recognized to be the finest in the country.